Building a Road Bike from Parts -- Need Advice!

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by projecthuxley, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. projecthuxley

    projecthuxley New Member

    Apr 13, 2010
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    Ok here's the deal. I am looking to build a road bike from parts. Up until now my bicycle knowledge has been pretty perfunctory, but I'm learning fast, and hope to start this project by the end of the month. Right now I'm doing lots of research, and am anxious to start ordering parts. My budget is around $1,000.

    About me: I'm a relative neophyte to the bike scene. I've been riding for nearly a year now; currently, my single speed is my primary means of transportation. I don't race, tour, or off-road--nothing special. I'm just looking to design a neat commuter bike that is 1) light and 2) comfortable. I ride on the relatively hilly streets of Seattle.

    I have decided to go with a flip-flop hub with a freewheel on one side and fixed on the other. Despite the urging of friends and bike snobs everywhere, I'm not convinced a fixie is right for me (I like coasting), so this way I can decide for myself, and preserve both options.

    I've done my homework, and have worked out measurements, size requirements, gear ratio, etc. I'm going to consult with a professional before purchasing anything. I still however, have some more general questions, this being my first salvo into bike construction.

    1) How much, proportionally, should I be spending on individual parts? I've heard various opinions (wheels should be 50%, frame should be 30%), but no real consensus. My biggest priority in this department is weight. My current single-speed is a tad over 20 lb. and I would like to cut that down a bit (under 16 lb. if possible for my budget, not including removable parts like lights and luggage rack). Which parts should I invest the most amount of money in, and which can be purchased on the cheap?

    2) What are our opinions on frame materials? The frameset is the first purchase, so along with considerations of price, I'm wondering about material options. Again, weight is the core issue. The best deals I've found online are carbon frames. In fact, I've found that if I'm buying a used frame, the lightest, cheapest material available is carbon (even cheaper than most aluminum and titanium frames) even though retail-wise this should be more expensive. I'm wary of the bugaboos associated with carbon (maintenance, compatibility with other parts), but honestly don't know enough to make an educated decision.

    3) Painting. As long as I'm making a custom bike, I'd like to get a custom paint job. Is this something I can do on my own? Or is it worth it to pay for a professional to do this? Are there any dangers in painting it myself? Has anyone attempted this before? Warnings? Advice?

    I'm ready and motivated to get this project underway. I have most of my specs worked out, a work space and tools provided, and now it's time to make some decisions. The first purchase will be a frameset, perhaps as early as next week. Please give me any and all advice you can muster. Thanks!

  2. CommanderFokker

    CommanderFokker New Member

    Apr 8, 2010
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    I think building is more for these archetypes:
    1)those who have a very specific vision of what they want in terms of components
    2)those with lots of extra unused parts lying around already
    3)the very experienced amateur-professional bike mechanics, enthusiasts and tinkerers

    About painting back in the day, in junior/high school one of my friends used to talk about building this or that bmx frame from parts he had just laying around and he would always self spray paint with a can and it always look questionable, often with a few runs most the time. It is hard to spray paint with a can evenly for the unexperienced and it never looks like a factory job. Professionals will paint with a setup connected to an air compressor, this is what my mom's, boyfriend's auto garage used to use to paint cars flawlessly. It could cost a bit for an experienced spray painter in such a setup to do it for you.

    I have a feeling that maybe a new bike for that price might even have better components than anything you could build. When I used to work at an auto parts warehouse we had a jobber price, the cost we sold to auto parts stores for and the estimate retail price(that these shops could charge consumers) and alot of times the jobber price was half what end consumers would pay. These bike manufacturers are getting discount bulk rates lower than what you are gonna pay; when you buy a dozen individual parts some extra middleman are making their profit which may end up being more than the one time profit the manufacture and local bike store make. But some people like to tinker with things, research and read endlessly about parts, put things together.

    You could check out mail order, finished bikes at:
    Ebay store SportyMamma bike shop

    I just found out about bikesdirect and am strongly considering it as an option. The bikes there are almost totally assembled, have free shipping and give alot better components for the price than anything in a local bike store.
  3. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Oct 6, 2003
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    A 16lb bike is pretty light and the parts to do this kind of project are generally expensive. You can buy a used bike or even a new one cheaper than you build one and that's not counting some specific tools needed in bike assembly.
    I appreciate your enthusiam and maybe by buying used stuff you might get by for $1000.00 or so but I am stll betting it would be difficult.
  4. banim

    banim New Member

    Apr 16, 2010
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    you can go for the best one